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Why hire a professional photographer for sports portraits

Updated: May 18, 2022

It's the question a lot of people interested in hiring a photographer have.

Why does hiring a professional photographer matter?

It's an incredibly important question these days with the proliferation of cellphone cameras, GoPros, and DSLR cameras.

Professional quality gear is within reach of just about everybody.

High school boy tennis player
Matthew DeBord | Tennis | Lancaster Catholic

And let's be truthful -- you could post a mediocre, terribly lit, awkward photo to your social media platforms, and still your family and friends will like and comment on it, no matter what the quality.

So why hire a professional photographer?

More specifically, why hire a professional portrait photographer for the athlete in your family?

There's magic in professional portrait photography

My favorite moment of every portrait session arrives a moment after we create the first image.

I walk over to the athlete, and with the LCD screen on the back of my camera, I show them what we just created.

The reaction tells me there's magic in professional photography. Their eyes widen. Often the words "oh my gosh" enter the conversation.

They see themselves like they never have before.

Bek Heller | Baseball | Manheim Township

Sure, having high-end cameras and fancy lights helps. I use on-location, off-camera studio lighting and revel in the effortrequired to use it and use it well.

The truth is, however, anyone willing to spend the money can own those things. A lot of unskilled photographers do.

Fancy gear, though, does not make a great photographer

A great photographer can do two things extremely well.

They control the gear, not the other way around. More on that in a sec.

And they know how connect to a client, to help them relax, to help them enjoy the experience of a portrait session.

The most important photography lesson I ever learned

The scene: a low-lit church in Cape May, N.J.

A group of aspiring photographers gathered in a semi-circle around their teacher, who stood next to a studio light. A bride in a shimmering white dress waited among the pews.

The teacher, an industry leader named Ken Sklute, said to the students (me included): "Control what you see."

Those words have guided my work as a professional photographer for years. They describe the difference between a high-performing image maker and someone who wishes they were a professional.


High school field hockey player at sunset
Autumn Rhoads | Field Hockey | Hempfield

Because a professional photographer takes his or her time. They understand the circumstances and know when to add light (or in some instances, take it away).

You've hired a photographer. You should expect we know how to create an image, not just take an image.

Other photographers do what's known as spray-and-pray. They take like a 1,000 photos an hour, don't take their time, and hope, when they get home, the images will turn out.

Recipe. For. Disaster.

All the high-end gear money can buy, it can't make a person a great photographer.

What does is pulling together a dozen different considerations, techniques, skills, every time we press the shutter button. For my clients, I'd rather take a few moments and get the image right than shoot and hope it turns out.

Great portrait photography endures

Imagine today you look inside a desk drawer or a box of keepsakes that's been largely forgotten in a storage closet.

You discover an old photo. It's your child, now a college student, when they played Little League. Or it's yourself from your high school varsity playing days.

Take a gander at the images included in this post. These families, these athletes, have these images for all-time.

They wanted something more than just the same old team photos.

Boy soccer player
Aidan McBride | Soccer | Manheim Township

They wanted something unique, enduring, something beyond what an iPhone can create or what they themselves could do with a DSLR camera.

That's what I aim to provide at Creative Sports Photography. You're your child's biggest fan.

I have three children, too. I coach them, root for them, am there for them when things get tough, celebrate with them when they achieve.

A professional photographer who uses off-camera lighting and is trained can create portraits that match your enthusiasm.

We create so images are more than just a one-time social media post. We create something designed to last.

To book a sports portrait experience, use the form below. Tell me about the sport you play, why you love it, whom you play for, and anything else you feel is important.


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